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Comment Re:This also means... (Score 1) 566

In what parallel universe do you live that an iPad is more capable and cheaper than competing devices!? That thing is the biggest rip-off I've ever seen.

As near as I can tell, the iPad does not have competitors. It is the only device (that I know of) that does what it does. And it does it very, very well.

Comment Re:Hitting the Debt Limit doesn't mean Default (Score 1) 932

You forgot the one that most likely will happen:

- The president will order the Treasury to make good on debt payments without changing any federal spending citing the Constitutional requirement to make good on public debt payments. This will be in blatant violation of the Debt Limit Law, but in this situation, it's a law vs. the Constitution. Remember the president IS a Constitutional scholar...

An interesting side effect of this is that it would likely enormously shift the balance of budgeting power away from Congress to the Executive. I'm not sure any Congressmen or Senators would like that, so they will probably update the limit before this becomes a necessity.

Comment Re:More Likely... (Score 1) 380

I wonder how long until the lawyers start raining down from the sky.

Now that would be a plague of biblical proportions. I think Yahweh may have missed something when he just went with turning the Nile to blood, raining bullfrogs, locusts, boils, killing every firstborn child, etc....

Comment No... (Score 1) 705

The Internet has never been free of regulation. In fact, it was originally envisioned as a switching network much like typical telephone systems. I recall reading somewhere (can't find the article, please link to it in response if you have it), that it was a political end-run around the telcos, who apparently did not see it coming, that led to its current packet-routing form instead of a switched version (at least for the commercial Internet we know today). The telcos and others obviously (due to pushes to "shape" traffic a la Comcast) still want the degree of control and revenue extraction that a switched system would provide them. It is only now that the back-end providers have the hardware sophistication necessary to analyze every packet to the degree necessary to do this. Hence, now is when the need for regulation comes up--it wasn't needed before because the problem was not possible.

And I for one find the current FCC rules to be a major step in the right direction. Now we have precedent that the Internet does in fact fall under their regulatory umbrella, and that they are working to protect citizens using the Internet from over-reach by those with a monopoly on the physical network in their areas. What is allowed and is not allowed will certainly change as the technology progresses, but for now, what they have developed is certainly better than nothing.

Comment Re:You aren't FORCED to buy foreign food (Score 1) 738

Exactly, which is why we subsidize our food supply. So we (and everyone else who does the same thing) is not going to ever be "FORCED to buy foreign food." I am sympathetic to national security interests, and food is very important--we can individually survive approximately a week without it. I don't ever want to be in a situation where my neighbors are dying because some other nation decided to enact a trade embargo.

Comment Re:Tell /.'rs no tech is dangerous (Score 1) 319

Actually, even in computer science, there are many sub-fields where 100 pages of reading and comprehension a week is entirely warranted. Off the top of my head, security, software engineering, programming languages, operating systems (depending on priorities), robotics, vision, and artificial intelligence. Granted, I'd have trouble coming up with that much reading for introduction to programming (where all that time should be spent actually coding) or algorithms (where it should be spent deriving), but I digress.

And I stand by my earlier observation that if one's course load is too much for them to handle, they should drop back. Some topics (even within a discipline that also covers "easier" topics like you mention) require a lot more work than others to gain proficiency. Other times, people may not have learned the necessary starting material. This is why we have prerequisites, but from experience, if students did not see it as useful when they took it, they might have passed the pre-req without the required degree of understanding. This leaves them scrambling to catch up the whole time they are in a course that depends on earlier material.

I didn't mean to come off as arrogant. Gaining real understanding is very difficult. And all of us occasionally take on too much. Sometimes you just need to recognize this and limit yourself to what you can handle. I got my butt kicked a couple of times before I learned that lesson myself.

Comment Re:Tell /.'rs no tech is dangerous (Score 1) 319

But if I have to do 700 pages of reading each week because I have 7 classes? That's two novels a week.

As a university professor, I take exception to this. 700 pages to read in a week is not too much, when that is (part of) your full time job. No one said university is easy, and trying to become proficient in seven different topics is very difficult. Note that I do mean proficiency, not mastery--mastery is certainly not possible in almost anything in a single course.

If you can't read the assigned material in a week, you should really consider dropping your course load to a number that is attuned to your level of ability.


What US Health Care Needs 584

Medical doctor and writer Atul Gawande gave the commencement address recently at Stanford's School of Medicine. In it he lays out very precisely and in a nonpartisan way what is wrong with the institution of medical care in the US — why it is both so expensive and so ineffective at delivering quality care uniformly across the board. "Half a century ago, medicine was neither costly nor effective. Since then, however, science has... enumerated and identified... more than 13,600 diagnoses — 13,600 different ways our bodies can fail. And for each one we've discovered beneficial remedies... But those remedies now include more than six thousand drugs and four thousand medical and surgical procedures. Our job in medicine is to make sure that all of this capability is deployed, town by town, in the right way at the right time, without harm or waste of resources, for every person alive. And we're struggling. There is no industry in the world with 13,600 different service lines to deliver. ... And then there is the frightening federal debt we will face. By 2025, we will owe more money than our economy produces. One side says war spending is the problem, the other says it's the economic bailout plan. But take both away and you've made almost no difference. Our deficit problem — far and away — is the soaring and seemingly unstoppable cost of health care. ... Like politics, all medicine is local. Medicine requires the successful function of systems — of people and of technologies. Among our most profound difficulties is making them work together. If I want to give my patients the best care possible, not only must I do a good job, but a whole collection of diverse components must somehow mesh effectively. ... This will take science. It will take art. It will take innovation. It will take ambition. And it will take humility. But the fantastic thing is: This is what you get to do."

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